Soumalee belongs to the Lawa ethnic group, she comes from the small village of Om Paï, situated in the North-Western mountains of Thailand. Her parents grow rice and a few vegetables, which they try to sell to earn a small revenue.
As a young girl, she dreamt of being an air stewardess or a tourist guide. She maintained her interest in international relationships and became an English teacher instead. Kru Mot has been teaching at the Sop Moei village school for the past two years. She is a very kind young woman, always smiling and ready to help others.
She is very happy and feels fulfilled by her job. She says she loves her job, as she can speak English, help her pupils grow and help them discover a new language, which she sees as something paramount.
Kru Mot teaches in a school where most of the students are ethnically Karen. “Education is the key to success, it is one way to open up to others, learn skills, grow up, and have the opportunity to decide what their future will be like.”
Soumalee was supported by her sponsor for 12 years, from 6th grade until the end of University. She remembers her sponsor very well, her name is Catherine, thanks to her sponsorship, She was able to access education, all the way to the Ratchapat Lampang University. She knows that her moral support and financial aid were a big part of her being able to become who she is today.
When she came to the Sop Moei School, as she visited the homes of the students, Soumalee was struck by the dire conditions in which those families live. She remembered the day when her family didn’t have the money to send her to school and how her sponsor came in to support her. Kru Mot then contacted Chloe, a local overseas volunteer from Children of the Mekong, as she desperately wanted to help those families.
At the beginning of her studies, Soumalee didn’t know what her future would look like, or which opportunities sponsorship would allow her to seize. However, she believed in her dreams and invested herself in her studies to take her destiny into her own hands. She is very proud of her journey and rightfully so!
“Thank you for helping me this whole time, and for supporting me through my studies. Today, I have finished my studies, I have a great job, and I am able to help others as you helped me.”